Customer_JourneyCustomer Centricity is trending and marketing gurus unanimously agree that this is the way to go in today’s complex market landscape. Consumer insights and customer sentiments matter the most now – more than ever before – and companies are investing their marketing dollars on understanding their consumers. Mapping the customer journey is one of the most effective ways to understand consumer experience across different touch points.

The customer journey denotes the relationship between the customer and the brand. It begins with the first impression that a customer forms of the brand to all the experiences and interactions at each touch point across the entire customer lifecycle. A customer journey map is an illustration of this customer-brand engagement through every stage of the customer journey.  Mapping your customer’s journeys help you see your brand from an outside -in perspective.  It also provides insight to  the operations and the services you deliver.

It is important to understand the timeline of the customer journey through the stages of a conventional sales funnel.  The cycle begins with brand awareness,  expands with research and completes the cycle with a  purchase. Marketers need to decode and understand customer activities and responses at every stage and focus on the questions, motivations and barriers that the customer would face at each of these stages. In so doing, they can identify moments which lead to customer satisfaction and make efforts to encourage more such moments.

Mapping a Customer Journey

The customer journey map is a framework that helps you understand the shopping experience from a customer’s perspective and identify areas of improvement. It is a highly data driven activity that maps the different stages of the journey and analyzes data on various dimensions such as sentiments, touch points etc.

  • State the scope of the journey mapping: State your objectives and clearly identify why you want the customer journey mapping. It could be to improve your customer experience, or to better align a new messaging initiative etc. Understand how you are going to use the results. Is your focus on the physical or emotional factors, interactions or transactions? Define your target audience.  Decide on the range and depth of the mapping.
  • Map: Use a customer journey mapping tool to discover likes, dislikes, preferences and needs of the present experience.  Plot each step of the customer interaction and map the customer's experience in each of these steps, note their feelings, perceptions and responses.
    • Measure the customer experience: Use research and surveys to measure the customer experience.
    • Identify solutions: The map will provide pain-points and challenges. Identify solutions to enhance the customer experience at these pain points.
    • Apply: Leverage these insights gained from the mapping to improve your marketing and communication initiatives, train your staff for better customer service and even improve your product / service.

Eight tips for effective Customer Journey Mapping

There is no standard journey map. Every organization will need to build one based on their product or service. Here are some tips to help you get it right.

  1. Remain focused on the strategic end goal: Customer journey maps help to indentify the gap between customer expectations and what you actually deliver. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you define the path better. Let your goal direct and guide you in mapping the journey.
  2. Define a research based customer persona: It is critical to have a research based customer persona which represents your broader target audience. Carefully define its characteristics and needs. This will make your map more relevant.
  3. Leverage existing data intelligently: Use existing relevant data wherever possible and minimize the effort on new research.
  4. Focus on emotions: Emotions are an integral part of any experience and thus demand attention.
  5. Include the length of the experience: The duration of the experience is equally important. For instance, note how long a customer call lasted or how long they browsed before making a purchase.
  6. Get your customers to map the journey with you: Talk to your customers and get their views directly. Get them to help you in mapping the journey. This will ensure more accurate outside-in perspective, genuine insights and better results.
  7. Involve your customer facing team: Capturing your team's understanding of the needs will ensure better identification of the gap between customer expectations and what you deliver.
  8. Take action: Journey maps involve a lot of time and effort. Be sure to leverage the insights and take action to enhance the customer experience in line with your goal.

Business benefits from mapping Customer Journey

Customer journey maps empower you to know and understand customer needs better, thereby leading your brand to deliver value to your customers, as well as helping you deal with your customers more effectively and efficiently.  Other benefits include:

  • Identifing operational inefficiencies that will improve customer experience and eventually save money in the long run;
  • Unleashing opportunities for product differentiation;
  • Presenting opportunities to differentiate and improve your customer experience;
  • Improving your customer retention rates;
  • Drastically reducing the negative customer experience and improving brand reputation.

By Anant Choubey, Regional Head – APAC, Capillary Technologies

About the Author:

Anant_ChoubeyAnant Choubey is responsible for sales and marketing in the APAC region at Capillary Technologies and currently manages the firm’s business across South East Asia. His prime focus is to strategize and expand Capillary in burgeoning market in South East Asia. He has donned many hats in Capillary over the years, from operations to client servicing to business development and has been instrumental in setting up Capillary’s India business, before moving to Singapore to establish and manage South East Asia market.